Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    February 20, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm EST

8:00 pm
and on working on his eventual presidential library. her east wing really works with the west wing. she -- so she's doing environmental things. she's a national park talking about the environment. we have a scarf in here that i love and i never have seen the connection before, but the scarf promotes the discover america program. that's something that the west wing is putting out and it's an effort to keep american tourism dollars in america. so it's encouraging you to vacation and tour america. so she can promote that at the same time he's promoting environmentalism. >> is all part of the great society agenda? in a large way, it is. it's to make a better america. an american that's -- a america that's more livable for all of us. it's all tied in.
8:01 pm
what your environment is like has to do what your life is like, what your situation -- your financial situation is like. what the quality of your life. so i think for her, it all ties together. she's the first lady you have to find something to do that makes your heart sing and follow that. >> as the first lady -- >> as the first lady. >> life in general. >> right. did she lobby for these projects? >> she did lobby. she -- for the highway billboard act, to take billboards off of national highways, mrs. johnson actually met with west wing staff and had her own call sheet of people to -- to directly call and lobby. that and -- everybody knew that mrs. johnson had influence and mrs. johnson could work behind the scenes. this was too far in front. and there was some backlash over that. and she -- after that retreated to a more veiled, behind the
8:02 pm
scenes kind of lobbying. but it's also mrs. johnson that takes the first solo campaign whistle-stop tour. it's a trip she takes into the south. during the 1964 election campaign, lyndon johnson has signed the civil rights act. he's losing support in the south and mrs. johnson alone obviously with a staff and companions, but makes a trip through the south, stopping to speak to the public. strong arming in an oh so polite way governors and leaders in that state to meet with her. to here's my point of view. and takes an abuse from the public and then will say, well, you have had your turn. i have listened to you and i hope you'll listen to me. knowing that southern gentlemen have to -- southern gentlemen
8:03 pm
has to listen to and greet a southern lady. >> the dress. tell us how she picked the design for this. >> it's a beautiful yellow, made by john moore texas dress designer. and it's actually -- mrs. johnson, well, who's of course the wife of the senator, a wife of a member of congress, used to do constituency tours to the smithsonian institution. so she was very familiar with the exhibit and she says at one point that, you know, the beautiful embroidery and the light fabrics, they're beautiful. but they won't last. so she purposely picks a dress that she thought in style and in construction would stand the test of drive. it's a beautifully simple dress. we thank mrs. johnson because it has held up very well. >> what happens when a woman would be -- if a woman would be elected president? we came close in 2008. we'd like to say when a woman is elected president, not if. we take it as a given. it's just a question of when.
8:04 pm
but it is an interesting question. people ask a lot. will we put her husband's suit in the exhibition? it takes us back to the beginning of the smithsonian definition of first lady. we'll have to wait and see who in the administration plays the role of the official hostess. the role that the first lady has played. and there's no telling who that will be. will it be the husband, and the host in her own home? but who will be carrying out the duties? will it be one of them or a caught ore a professional job? we don't know. so we're waiting to see and then to figure out what we do next in this exhibition where we take it forward. i think even more interestingly, after -- when a man is again president, what will happen to the first ladies after that, will it revert or move in a direction that is maybe more free to the woman who then becomes first lady. >> lisa kathleen graddy, thank
8:05 pm
you very much. >> thank you. there's a new website for american history tv where you can find our schedules and preview our upcoming programs. watch featured video from our regular weekly series as well as access the history tweets. history in the news and social media from facebook, twitter and four square. follow it all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3 and online. all day today, american history tv is featuring america's first ladies. who do you think was our most influential first lady? vote and join the conversation with us on facebook at facebook.com/c-span. this is american history tv on c-span 3 and we are marking this weekend on presidents' day, looking at the nation's first ladies. up next, lady bird johnson takes
8:06 pm
us back to 1968 and shows us the white house she knew. >> a rather small room, it will be a little crowded. move up this way.
8:07 pm
>> many years ago when i was the wife of a brand new texas congressman i snapped photos outside the iron gates. i never imagined one day i would live on the other side of that fence. i had the distinct feeling that this house belonged in part to me. i think that's a feeling that everyone who visits here shares. just like the thousands who come here each year. i was impressed by the majesty of the great state rooms on the first floor, and was proud of the stream of history that ran through each of them.
8:08 pm
what the passerby doesn't always realize is that there are two sides to the white house. the official side that remains in the public eye and the private side that the public rarely sees. the living quarters for the president an his family. this is our living room. actually, it's the west end of the long hall. it's the nerve center and crossroads of all family activities. an intimate place and yet, busy. and it belongs to all the family. psychologically, when you cross that threshold, you feel that you're at home. that you're inside your own house. you can put on a robe and slippers and curl up with a good book. we gather here on all the climactic occasions.
8:09 pm
such as the immediate moments fold low -- following the state of the union address to the nation. worked on the speech or those who contributed to the event. on those nights, this room has been it has the same electric quality of a broadway opening. after the performance, you're anxious to hear the reviews. although we have had some thrilling successes, and high moments of pride, there are some chilly moments too. but happy or painful, this is where the initial public reaction is seen by the president. and this is where his family shares this experience. this room is also a listening post for the tone of the day. when we have no engagements in the evening, i come in here with some of my work that isn't so demanding. and wait for lyndon to come home from his work.
8:10 pm
you can see his office from here. the lights may be on until 8:00 or maybe 9:00 or 10:00. sometimes he doesn't come home until dinner until after midnight. it's not very far for a man to commute. but in terms of his responsibilities, there's a great distance from here to there. i recall being up here as lyndon brought in the latest acquisition for our old book collection and lucy emerged from the kitchen with a pan of brownies she made. and at the same time, knowing that lyndon was down there only a few yards away. but the tensest nights of all are the lights on in the room, and perhaps it was the crisis of the gulf or the middle east in june of '67.
8:11 pm
but sooner or later, lights will go out. and then in a few moments i'll hear an eager voice call out, where's bird? then i'll know he's home. really home. like the living room and any american home, this room has its personal touches. bookshelves that reflect the individual interests of the family. old and treasured friends. one of the things that i am proud to leave as a reminder of our time here is the addition to the white house collection of paintings. thomas sully's portrait of fanny kimble is sheer romance and i love it. this is the most recent acquisition, the gypsy girl. the first painting acquired during our stay at the white
8:12 pm
house was winslow -- i saved my favorite. the mary kasat for last. you can almost feel the love between the mother and those children. look at that little girl. is she wondering what the small child is going to mean to her life? it's such a dear painting. it seems to set the tone of the room. it's where the family shared so many personal and intimate moments. where we felt we were in the heart of the house, really at home. each of the rooms in the family quarters of the white house has a special personality. a distinctive mood. here the treaty room has a dark green velvety look.
8:13 pm
its ornate decor reflects the opulence of the victorian period. this became the cabinet room for president andrew johnson, but it was president grant who introduced this table with so many succeeding presidents used to conduct the nation's business until 1902. that was when the country outgrew the second floor. president theodore roosevelt who had six children and was not tradition-bound built the west wing presidential offices. separating once and for all the family quarters, from the day to day work of the chief executive. many objects bring to mind earlier presidents. the torches of andrew jackson, this lamp presented to mrs. grover cleveland, and this
8:14 pm
wastebasket. the chandelier has an interesting story behind it. it was designed for the east room in president grant's time. but it soon a passed from room to room until it finally wound up gracing president roosevelt's new office. every time the door opened it tinkled. distracting him greatly. he order it to be sent to the capitol and he was supposed to have said, put it in the vice president's office and it will keep him awake. and there it remained until my husband became vice president in 1961. during mrs. kennedy's renovation, lyndon was instrumental in returning it to the white house where it hangs today. this room has seen many signings. in my time i have witnessed two
8:15 pm
treaties here involving the geographic extremes of our country. the first was the treaty which made the summer home of franklin roosevelt an international park between canada and the united states. behind this table prime minister pearson of canada and my husband were seated, flanked by the delegations. i remember james roosevelt and ms. grace tully, the president's personal secretary. it was a thrilling look back into the past. and then, from the northern most part of the country, to the southern most. in october of '67, the treaty was seigned here, returning to mexico a small strip of land long in dispute between our countries. what a feeling of goodwill there was that way. the texas congressmen were here and a delegation from mexico.
8:16 pm
everyone i felt was saying to himself, it's done at last. i can recall some other writing perform at this table. i was showing my guests the rooms on the second floor. we entered the treaty room. as i began my recital i saw on the table some tattered notebooks and chewed pencils, a high school algebra and a latin book. it was evident that linda and lucy had discovered what i would soon learn that this room is mighty conducive to getting work done. almost from the beginning i have used this room to launch the projects closest to my heart. it's a good place to gather your committee or your group. talk into being a program and get it moving. most of the beautification planning was done right here. we took our notes on president
8:17 pm
grant's table and our liaison with the outside world was this old french telephone made back in the 1890s. and then i know that one day when i walked through the finished lyndon johnson library, vivid memories of this room would come to mind. for almost three years our various library committees have met here, bringing in the regents, architects and all manner of design and exhibit people. here we have watched the library grow to a real living repository of history. and so a room that started out as a working environment by a succession of presidents still provides that very important function for 20th century first
8:18 pm
ladies with a variety of projects. it is a working room, but like any room in the white house it is also a collection of memories. having the entire family together for lunch is a joy. but al r lyndon's hours vary with his work. and the girls are just as unpredictable. but once in a while, everyone's actually coinciding and we gather in the family dining room. >> it's almost like a little english baby. >> honey -- >> he is a good boy. >> he's an angel. >> he looks so much like his daddy.
8:19 pm
>> sir, do you know -- >> i thought it was a bulldozer with -- >> that's what i thought. but said there's no -- had no writing on it. and it's not like a tank in the sense that it's very durable. that they're very dangerous since they have got that four gas tanks. so if they're hit, the whole thing goes up. >> it's too hot. hot. >> you know, i think one of the parting gifts might be a high chair. >> lyndon ought to give it, don't you think? wouldn't that be cute? given by patrick lyndon -- >> will you be glad if we get you a high chair so it will be your high chair forever. pretty bright colored ones -- >> yes, ma'am. i'll find out how much exactly
8:20 pm
to the penny the other one was and how much the plated ones. >> all right. and i will then give you a check for the whole business. and then we'll have two grandmother high chairs and one grandmother play pen which will take up residence at the ranch. >> and then rob can play in the play pen and sit in the high chair. i bet we'll have two in the high chairs at the same time. i know when lyndon is in a high chair, he'll be in a junior chair, if not a high chair. maybe take the tray off. >> he will not be in one of my chairs with one of the nice needle point seats. >> mother, are you trying to tell me something? >> i'm going to have to go. >> bye, daddy. >> i want to -- i bet you think
8:21 pm
you're going. he wants to go. he knows who loves him. >> he does. he knows who loves him. >> good-bye. >> to me, the yellow oval room is the loveliest room in all the white house. while our living room is homey and cozy, this room is formal and elegant. yet, there is life here. it is warm and inviting. it is the one room in the white house where formal ceremony intermingles with family life. it symbolizes in a way the role a president's family plays while
8:22 pm
living here. for the personal life and the official duties are always closely related. president franklin roosevelt's bedroom was next door. and he would use this room as a sitting room and an office. for us, it's been the main drawing room. and on a winter evening, the fire is a magnet for good conversation. traditionally, the yellow oval room has been used for entertaining and for receptions. in fact, this is where the first official reception ever held at the white house ever took place. here on a chilly january 1st in 1801, john and abigail adams received the ministers from the first six countries that had recognized this brand new nation. and still today this room offers
8:23 pm
hospitality to visiting chiefs of state. this is where we invite the prime ministers or kings and their wives for that half hour or so before a state dinner. the earlier part of the day is filled with ceremonies on the south lawn. colorful fanfare. sometimes a parade. this has always been an impressive experience. a responsibility. i go to the third floor before the occasion and look at the great map case and pull down liberia, india. then i real a big sheaf of briefings on the visitor and his country. i also try to go over the guest list. a good many times before the state dinner. because hopefully you can say something more than just how do you do? to our guests who come from all over the united states to meet the visiting head of state.
8:24 pm
and then, it is a high moment when the color guard enters. es of the visiting chief and i in turn bring our guest. for a year, perhaps the marine captain who led the group was chuck robb. he was terribly military and impressive. it was not until months had passed that i realized i might be looking at our future son-in-law. we have had so many wonderful personal, happy times in this room. here, lyndon and i celebrated just last year our 33rd wedding anniversary. the cake that linda planned held our time together one third of a century. it was our grandson's first birthday. like all birthdays the climax is the cake.
8:25 pm
this one provided us with a household crisis. those sticky little feet and that elegant little louis xvi up holsterry. in the end the furniture didn't suffer one bit, but my nerves did. then there was the christmas of '67. my husband was plunged into a trip around the world. prospects were bleak indeed for a christmas with the whole family together. i followed his headlines from australia to thailand to rome. and then gloriously he came home on christmas eve. that christmas we were seven. two sons-in-law and a new baby. up spoken was the thought that next christmas chuck would not be with us. it was a fragile happiness, like some lovely bubble and i think the room must have sensed it for
8:26 pm
it was never prettier. it was our first christmas in the white house. a moment to catch and hold. it seemed to underscore my feeling that this house is only on loan to its tenants that we are temporarily occupants linked to the presidents who have come before us and who will succeed us. for only a brief time, we served as the extension of 200 million people. holding their trust, working to fulfill it. >> the man who sits this this chair -- in this chair sits in the chair that's been occupied by less than 40 men, and the
8:27 pm
long history of this great republic. he is selected by the will and by the votes of a majority of the citizens of this republic. philosophy and the policies of the people of this nation. regardless of his own personal feelings from time to time. he is the executer of the will of the people of this nation. and he carries upon his shoulders day and night a burden that always seems at least to him too much to carry, but only
8:28 pm
for him to carry. we'll be leaving here shortly after having spent almost 40 years in the federal service. we came to washington with some very deep-set convictions. we felt that we could contribute to making this a better country for all of our people. in some fields we have made great progress. education, health, housing and in some respects we have had many disappointments. but in the last few years in this house, in this office, we have had a chance to impress upon the people of this nation those simple convictions that brought us to this town.
8:29 pm
and that kept me here for almost four decades. it's important to reflect and look back andeen done because there's no better way to judge the future than by the past. but the important thing that faces our country now is for a new president to look at these new challenges, and find new answers, find the means of communicating with our young and providing leadership and inspiration for them so that they will realize we do care. find a way to help better understanding come to our races. so that we can live together in peace and harmony and equality with justice to all. no president ever came to this office on a platform of doing what was wrong.

98 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on